Thursday, March 30, 2017

F. B. Harrison Avenue, Pasay City

   History is shaded by the ideology of the historian.  In elementary and high school I was taught that the Americans colonized the Philippines, out of the goodness of their heart, to teach the Filipinos how to govern themselves.  In college, I was taught that the Americans came to exploit the Philippine mines and enslave the Filipinos.  The truth is never in just one side of the story.  Usually it’s all over and in between.

Francis Burton Harrison
From: wikipedia.org
   Francis Burton Harrison was a relative of US founding fathers Thomas Jefferson and Robert E. Lee.  He was the Private Secretary to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.  The Confederacy was a breakaway 11 states fighting to keep their slaves.  Those states opposed the election of President Abraham Lincoln who ran on a platform of abolishing slavery.  Today's white supremacy racists wave the confederate flag as their own.

   Harrison served in the United States House of Representatives and was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson to be Governor-General of the Philippines.  Despite his confederacy back ground, as Governor-General of the Philippines, he initiated Filipinization, the process of sharing authority to Filipinos in preparation for inevitable independence.  He went against conservative Americans who thought his role was to support U.S. interests.

   “The Filipinization policies of Harrison... increased not only the number of Filipinos working in government, but also the number of Filipinos holding responsible positions in government.  The legislature passed the Reorganization Act of 1916 which provided that all department secretaries should be Filipino citizens.  Harrison also allowed the creation of new departments all headed by Filipinos.” (https://www.coursehero.com)

   Manuel L. Quezon, the first President of the Commonwealth asked Harrison to be his principal advisor.  “In 1936, Harrison expressed interest in acquiring Filipino citizenship but did not fulfill the required years of residency under the Naturalization Law.  Upon Manuel Quezon's initiative, the National Assembly passed Commonwealth Act No. 79, making Harrison a naturalized Filipino citizen.”  While Filipinos struggled to attain US citizenship, Harrison cherished his Filipino citizenship.  

   From Governor-General of the Philippines beginning in 1913, Harrison served the Filipinos in different capacities.  After the Philippine independence in 1946, Harrison served as an advisor to the first four presidents of the new Philippine Republic.  

   Harrison died on November 21, 1957 as a Filipino citizen.  He willed that he be buried in the Philippines.  He was interred with the image of Philippine flag alongside the American flag in the Manila North Cemetery in La Loma, Manila.  A street was named after him, F.B. Harrison Avenue which starts in Baclaran, Parañaque through Pasay City and ends in Pablo Ocampo Street (formerly Vito Cruz) in the City of Manila.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

An Open Letter to President Vladimir Putin

Dear President Vladimir V. Putin

   I ventured to write this letter because I believe you are a good man, however the foreign media paints you.  The Bible says “be in subjection to the superior authorities... the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God.” (Romans 13:1)  As Jehovah’s Witness I believe all that is written in the Bible.  The above passage refers to you, the President of Russia.

   On March 15, 2017, the Ministry of Justice in Russia filed a claim with the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation seeking “to declare the religious organization, the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses, extremist, ban its activity, and liquidate it.” A decision by the Supreme Court in favor of this claim will have dire consequences for all of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia.

   Russia’s “Federal Law on Extremist Activity” is being misapplied to Jehovah’s Witnesses.  We, Jehovah’s Witnesses, are not extremist in the political context of the word.  We only fall extreme in our adherence to Bible principles which preach love of God and neighbor, love for family, and respect for government.  We strive to be good citizens. We are known worldwide for our peaceful activities, and under no circumstances would we ever resort to any activity that is criminal in nature.

   In college, I read Karl Marx and he says “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world.”  I appreciate the laws of the Russian government that guarantee freedom of religion to all citizens.  I implore your intervention to stop the legal action being taken against the Jehovah’s Witnesses branch office and congregations in Russia.  We only ask that we be allowed to continue to gather peacefully for Christian meetings without interference.

   President Putin, you are a powerful man placed in your position by God.  Please return His favor by protecting his people.

   Thank you for your consideration and attention.
  
Sincerely yours
  
Lori C. Clark
(This same letter has been mailed to President Putin.)
Postscript:
This is how Russian congregations are coping with persecution.  JW Russian brothers and sisters after convention in Finland. Photo from JW United

From: JW United


Friday, March 10, 2017

Losing No. 2

Politicians and entertainment celebrities couldn’t care less about how they are perceived.  Defying the norms of correctness used to merit looks and whispers in the olden times.  These days, it garners scathing comments in the Internet.  News, comedians and pundits rehash every wrong word, decision or action in YouTube where it will live for eternity.  It makes one wonder how the subject of such scrutiny can live with themselves.  How do they face their friends and neighbors in the morning after a Saturday Night Live ridicule?

   Typical Filipinos go to great lengths to avoid being talked about in a bad light.  They’re not even celebrities.  This is partially due to cultural and religious standards of morality.  I was raised in a family that said “What will people say?!” every time I broke the norm in my youth.  And I broke a lot of them.  That gave me a feeling of living with an invisible judge hovering over me.

   I had my eyelids surgically done to better hold eye makeup.  I worked out with leg weights and dumbbells for decades to keep my size and shape swimsuit material.  Rich or poor I picked my wardrobe carefully to always reflect a touch of class.  All those because I heard “I have a responsibility to my fans.”  Celebrity or not, we all have fans, or these days, haters.

   I dated too soon and married too young.  Our neighborhood in Pasay City gossiped like TMZ, checking out every guy I brought home.  My parents secretly cried in shame and disapproval.  Despite my family’s effort not to meddle and helped out every step of the way, I failed my first marriage.

   To avoid further embarrassment, I hung on to husband No.2 for 25 years.  Those 25 years started on the wrong foot but a second failure was not an option.  I decided to punish myself with a voluntary incarceration.  I worked, raised the kids, and stayed unhappily ever after.  In the court of public opinion I was able to redeem myself.  

   At the tail end of the 25 years, I studied the Bible. I realized there was only one opinion that mattered, Jehovah God’s, as specifically stated in Matthew 5:32 “But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

   Husband No.1 was not cheating on me.  I committed a crime against my first husband, our son and God.  I did my time.  After 25 years, I gave myself parole.

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Saturday, March 4, 2017

Alternative Facts

   “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie” (Romans 1:25)

   This year a new term, a very cunning white washed word for lies has been invented.   A newly famous woman who has contributed nothing to uplift human existence called lies “alternative facts”.   The world accepted the term.   However, the belief in alternative fact is not new.  Here are two that have survived centuries.

   The Virgin Mary remained a virgin all her life. People believed this because the thought that Jesus' mother would have sex with her husband Joseph is unacceptable. The Bible says in Matthew 12:47 "Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you” referring to Mary with Jesus' earthly brothers.

   Then in Matthew 13:55 it says “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?"  Clearly the passage is not referring to spiritual brothers because the speaker was simply trying to identify Jesus in a crowd of strangers.  The brothers mentioned included a Joseph.  Compared to the list of the 12 apostles, there was no apostle named Joseph.  Joseph could not possibly be referring to Mary's husband because the speaker says in the same breath “the carpenter’s son” which means he knew Joseph, the carpenter, as Jesus’s father not one of his brothers. 

   Clearly, Mary had 4 more son's after Jesus which should not be unthinkable because she was a lawfully wedded wife and commits no transgression in having Joseph’s children.  The Bible can’t lie so obviously someone made up an alternative fact.

   “The development of Chinese characters pre-dates the writing of the Book of Genesis …the Chinese characters seem to provide an ‘independent’ record of the events in Genesis.” (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Hanzi_of_Genesis)  This refers to Moses writing the Book of Genesis 7:13 “On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark,” a total of eight people on a large boat.  

   In Genesis 11:1-9, the Bible narrates how the different languages were given to mankind. It follows that, that was when different alphabets and characters were created.  The Chinese character for large ship is a combination of people, eight and boat. 
   The Shang dynasty ruled in China during 1600-1046 BCE.  After having an "independent record" of Noah's ark the religion of the Shang was based on veneration of the ancestors, which is farthest from Bible truth.

   “It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.” - Mark Twain

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